Issue: Contract delays? A welcome development
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The current impasse between the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and the Government regarding the Independent Oversight Panel to examine three major infrastructure project proposals should be seen as a welcome development if it opens the door to a wider discussion of the State's procurement policies.
I say this against the background of my personal knowledge and experience in dealing with various government procuring entities and having to navigate the plethora of rules and complex bureaucracy to sometimes even get an opportunity bid, not to mention satisfying all the bid requirements.
The system is also heavily stacked against small and medium enterprises - both old and new - as very often, they are unable to meet the age-old requirements of experience, bid bonds, performance bonds, the National Contracts Commission, tax compliance certificates, and God knows what else they will throw up from time to time.
The whole process is an obstacle course that must be re-examined urgently if the country is going to have a chance to move towards achieving its goal of being a deve-loped country by 2030. The recent disclosure to a parliamentary committee that it takes up to 12 months to execute even the smallest of Jamaica Social Investment Fund-sponsored projects, mainly because of delays caused by state procurement policies, is testament to a system that has gone wild and virulent!
It cannot be that every time there is some hallowed hue and cry about corruption the Government and the OCG pile on another set of rules, rather than examine each case on its own facts and deal with each one according to law!
WINSTON D. BARRETT
Manor Park, Kingston 6